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TO THE READER. "Rest and be thankful ” would hardly be a suitable motto for a guild of editors. However often they may acknowledge themselves to “be thankful," their opportunities of “rest” are few. From glancing through the Index of our last volume we pass at once to the preparation of its successor. We confess to doing this with some solicitude. To provide for the pages of a religious periodical is, in these days, a Fork of growing difficulty. The strise of church parties, the revival and spread of the great heresy, the advance of infidelity under the pretentious banner of science, the confusion of creed with faith, the substitution of vague sentiment for principle, the observance of ritualistic ceremonies as an equivalent for personal religion: these things, not to speak of sweeping political and social changes, involving issues which even to the keenest eye are uncertain, may well cause occasional perplexity in the counsels of those who are "set" either for the defence or for the exposition of the truth. The best friends of Christianity are under the necessity of placing their hope—it is their one hope-not only with childlike trust, but with a childlike feeling of their own helplessness, in the “word” which is " settled in heaven for ever.” The wisest man is the most ready to admit that he cannot “discern " the "signs of the times” in which our lot is cast; except, indeed, as he is instructed by the eternal “Wisdom,” that, in view of all human contingencies and commotions, "hath builded her house " and "hewn out her seven pillars." Yet solicitude is not despondency. Every Christian believer knows whence to draw strength, whatever his task, wliatever the aspect of passing events, to
“argue pot Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot Of heart ur hope; but still bear up and steer
Right onward," till the “ light,” which is neither “clear nor dark," shall give place to the revelations of the promised open day.
At the commencement of a new volume, following the custom of honoured predecessors, we tender our cordial thanks both to
VOL. XIV. - FIFTH SERIE3.
“correspondents” and “ subscribers” who take an interest in our prosperity. Of the former, it will not, to any Methodist, seem invidious, if we name but one, the venerable Thomas Jackson, who commenced a long editorial course more than forty years ago, but who still lingers among us, a Nestor
“Whose sons around him mild obeisance pay." The valuable aid of other veterans is not wanting to us; por, in fact, a pen for any special critical or literary task that may be required. Yet why may not our circle of contributors be considerably extended ? A higher privilege can scarcely be found than that of addressing the many thousands, to whom the one of our periodicals which has the least circulation gives a writer access. There are in the Connexion ripe theologians, men of letters, students of particular subjects, essayists given to “intermeddle with all wisdom,” who could easily, if so inclined, render us invaluable help in the work we strive ever to keep in view,—that of providing what shall both profit and please, and at the same time edify our readers. Surely as high a reward, though perhaps only to be conferred " openly” in the “ great day," may be secured in this department of Christian activity as in any other, the pulpit excepted.
Our space, however, is limited; and short papers, if not too short, are usually of the most service to us. That voice, too, is heard first, of course, which speaks most clearly; that pen is preferred which most skilfully arrays old truths in new forms, and which, in setting forth what is proffered as new, combines grace with strength and utility.
Memoirs of godly men and women, judiciously written, and adorned with such attractions as spring naturally from the subject, are always welcome, and cannot but prove useful. Papers on almost every theme connected with the “common salvation,”— doctrines, duties, evidences, history, expositions, appeals,-anything, indeed, short of what is common-place, unnecessarily recondite, or merely speculative,-may consistently appear in our pages. Even contro. versy, when really needful, is not excluded; and the tendencies of modern thought are such as indicate that we shall, ere long, be called upon to set ourselves in firm array, and “speak with the enemy”the enemy of all Protestant churches—" in the gate."
To advert for a moment to practical matters, it may be of service to remind here and there a novice, that our work is not the collecting at a number of articles which by some occult word of command fall into sheets and pages in due rhythm and order. The initiated at least knon better ; they know, moreover, how many contributions on a given topic must be read, not seldom re-read and re-weighed, before the one appear: which can be freely stamped and circulated as true metal; how, at times, a promising paper, after long pains taken with it, has at last to
of a good llent oil” then, if all
be reluctantly laid aside-like the gem that, revealing a flaw only on coming into the hand of the cutter or polisher, disappoints the merchant, and that must be split, if it is to be used at all, into fragments of comparatively small value. Even friendly critics seem to lose sight of the bigh price which, ever and anon, has to be paid for the luxury of a good conscience in the discharge of editorial responsibilities. The "excellent oil” of the “righteous” has not unfrequently to be accepted in silence, when, if all the attendant circumstances could be known, words would perhaps be spoken that, as “ointment and perfume," would “rejoice the heart.” Our aim is to be just and courteous to all.
Thanks are all the more due to our subscribers, if it be the fact that, in our own community, as we happen to know is the case in other churches, there are those who neglect, not without some affectation of a slight which were better hidden, the publications on which the denominational seal is set. With such good people we can of course do nothing, as they have no knowledge of our doings, or visible sympa. thy with our objects. To our friends we may suggest the desirableness of extending the influence of this and our other magazines, by leading them, distributing them gratuitously, or inducing others to purchase them. Our ministers, in particular, may here find no unimportant auxiliary in their great work. The writer does not speak without experience. Thousands of our publications has he carried to the secluded hamlet, the homestead on the skirts of dreary moors, the village scbool; content with the thought that the sermon from the palpit on the Sabbath might thus be strengthened by an hour's wholesome reading in the week,—that it was no light gain to preoccupy the minds of the people, to the disadvantage of the hawker's miscellaneous pack, in which Byron lay side by side with Bunyan, an assortment of novels with a stray copy of the Life of Fletcher or Wesley. True, the saddle-bags are gone; but the railway now often carries ministers in ease, where their predecessors plodded wearily enough ; and in many Circuits, that is done which ought, indeed, to be done everywhere,—would be done if people and congregations were sally awake to their own interests ;-conveyances are provided by which distant places are reached, so as to allow the energies of both mind and body to be fully exerted on a minister's legitimate work. This growing facility of locomotion and carriage, in most parts of the country, should te made to contribute to the furthering of a purpose which is just as important to-day, as it was in the time of our laborious forefathers. In short, the stealthy approach of infidelity, the inroads of Popery upon the Protestant faith, the loose views of inspiration, the prevalence of a spurious charity in place of " the love of God shed abroad in the heart," the irreverent mingling of frivolous tales with the most solemn truths of our holy religion,---apparent in so many publications, which vie with each other in attractions for the populace, — are evils which must be met more actively than ever by the press itself, from whose “liberty,” chiefly, they have sprung.
Having once more used our privilege, and addressed the reader fur a moment directly, we bave now to turn to the work of the coming year. We do so, conscious of ever-deepening responsibilities, many imperfections, and of our entire dependence upon Divine aid for any measure of success; yet, not without hope that the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine will, as heretofore, perform its part towards the advancement of the Gospel, and the establishment of the kingdom of Christ.
MEMOIR OF MRS. ELIZABETH SAMUEL.
BY HER HUSBAND, THE REV. PETER SAMUEL. Mrs. ELIZABETJI SAMUEL was born in London, November 20th, 1800, and was in her infancy taken by her parents to Edinburgh ; where, as she grew up, she was privileged to sit under the ministry of the Methodists in the old Calton chapel. Early impressions were made on her mind, which resulted in her conversion to God. During a year's residence in Paisley, she “passed from death unto life," under the ministry of the late Rev. Thomas Mollard. On her return to Edinburgh, she became a member of the Superintendent minister's class, which she never left till 1831, when she was called to accompany her husband to the West Indies. Her experience in the Divine life was above the average of that of youthful professors of religion. In 1829, at a lovefeast conducted by a late well-known minister, she bore her testimony to the grace of God in a mavner remarkably calm, clear, and touching; and at the close of her statement the minister expressed his conviction “that the sister who had just spoken enjoyed that high state of grace which is preached among us as attainable on earth.” The Rev. Dr. George Scott, referring to this period of her history, speaks of her "calmly fervent zeal ;' and adds, “There was no noise, bustle, or display ; but she was ever decided, always to be relied on ; quietly firm and quietly fervent. She was a pattern to professors of her age in Edinburgh. When a few of us who were young resolved to hold a daily prayer-meeting, at six o'clock in the morning, during the winter of 1829-1830, she joined our company; and whoever might be absent, Elizabeth Burck was sure to be there and in time. I recall with pure delight those early associations." For several years she conducted a Sabbath-school, . unaided and alone, attending to it regularly and patiently, till called to another sphere of usefulness in a distant land.
After the death of her mother, her father made her his housekeeper. When the writer, impressed with the excellence of her character,
sought his consent to a correspondence designed to issue in marriage, the parent at once pictured to himself the perils of a missionary's life. Barsting into tears, he said, “If I lose her, I lose my greatest, my only earthly treasure; but I will leave it to herself to choose.” She, on the other hand, assured her father that she would follow his counsel; and, though painfully alive to the sacrifice, he ultimately decided that the union would be for her happiness, and gave his sanction to it.
After a few weeks spent in London with the family of the late Rer. John James, she accompanied her husband to the ship at Gravesend, to proceed to the West Indies. The following extracts from her diary illustrate her sentiments and feelings during the voyage, and evince the sincerity and depth of her piety :
"Detober 28th, 1831.—This day I left London with iny dear husband and Mr. Burrow3. Mr. and Mrs. James came with us to Gravesend, and remained till three o'clock, when they returned home, followed by our best wishes and prayers, that the Lord would abundantly reward them for their kindness to us.” “I feel an ardent desire that the Lord would mould me into His own image, and prepare me either for living entirely to His glory, or for an early death.
" 29th.—Though poorly, I find the truth of that promise, 'As thy day, so shall thy strength be.' I am enabled, in some measure, to commit all my affairs into the hand of my faithful Creator.
“30th.-I bad little sleep in the night. I felt my mind drawn out in prayer to my Heavenly Father, and am thankful that here I can raise my Ebenezer, and say, 'Hitherto hath the Lord helped me.' We bad worship this morning, but none of the crew were permitted to attend. Although we have not the advantage of worshipping in the Lord's earthly courts, yet He has promised to be where two or three are gathered together in His name. What a blessing is this in the midst of the mighty ocean! May the Lord keep us in the hollow of His hand, and give the winds and waves charge concerning us! How good it is to live near to Jesus, and feel every moment that we have an interest in His atonement! This is the privilege of all His people, and mine through faith.
“ November 30,-I awoke early this morning in a praying frame of mind. On deck I read the Bible and Fletcher's Life, and felt that the holiness which this eminent man possessed may also be mine. May the Lord help me to seek it !
*4th.-How easily surrounding objects divert the mind from the centre of true happiness! I want more of the mind that was in Christ.'
5th. It is the desire of my soul that all I have and am may be consecrated entirely to the service of my Redeemer.